One of the premier showcases for the world’s architects, and one that has one of the most elegant settings, the Venice Architecture Biennial, opens to the public on May 26 at the Giardini and the Arsenale.
The 16th edition of International Architecture Exhibition is titled “Freespace” — focusing on “the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space,” explains President Paolo Baratta.
The event, with 71 participants from across the globe, aims to promote the “desire” of architecture, he says. “The desire to create ‘Freespace’ can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project. But ‘space, free space, public space’ can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be "thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit. And the International Architecture Exhibition will offer us examples, teachings, and topics of discussion,” adds Baratta.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the curators of the fair, together issued what they call a manifesto, also called “Freespace,” in June 2017, which has served as a reference point for the exhibition. They said that “in the effort to translate ‘Freespace’ into the many wonderful languages of the world, we hope that it prises open the ‘gift’ which architectural invention has the potential to contribute with each project. Translation allows us all to map and rename intellectual as well as actual territory. It is our hope that the word ‘Freespace’ allows us to burrow into the aspirations, ambitions and generosity of architecture.”
Sixty-five nations will have presentations at the fair, including seven participating for the first time: Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, and the Holy See. The projects will be displayed in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, the Arsenale, and in the historic city center of Venice.
The exhibition will feature two Special Sections — “Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects,” with works that take inspiration from the well-known buildings of the past, and “The Practice of Teaching,” focusing on projects developed as part of teaching experiences. This year’s Special Projects will be presented in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and curated by Christopher Turner and Olivia Horsfall Turner. The two projects include Farrell and McNamara’s “Forte Marghera Special Project in Mestre,” featuring an installation by architects Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson; and “the Special Project at the Applied Arts Pavilion” in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, which explores the future of social housing through the social housing estate, Robin Hood Gardens. Other highlights of the event include “Meetings on Architecture,” “the Biennale Sessions” for universities, and several educational activities and workshops.
The architecture biennale began with an architecture exhibition organized in 1975 by the curator Vittorio Gregotti — “A proposito del Mulino Stucky.” Since then, famous architects including Richard Burdett, David Chipperfield, Francesco Dal Co, Alejandro Aravena, and Rem Koolhaas have taken part in what has become an important event in the world of architecture and design.
The event runs from May 26 to November 25, 2018.
For more information, visit: www.labiennale.org/
Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.
Founder: Louise Blouin